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George Will has a piece on the research of Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, who published "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism."
The conclusion: liberals are markedly less charitable than conservatives.
Members of my family, who will remain nameless, want the government to take care of them and are put out of they have to lift a finger to help themselves or, worse yet, ensure that there is a pot there to take care of others in need.
Some of the findings:
• Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household.
• Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.
• Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George Bush.
• Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.
• In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.
• People who reject the idea that "government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality" give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.
Brooks demonstrates a correlation between charitable behavior and "the values that lie beneath" liberal and conservative labels. Two influences on charitable behavior are religion and attitudes about the proper role of government.
The single biggest predictor of someone's altruism, Willett says, is religion. It increasingly correlates with conservative political affiliations because, as Brooks' book says, "the percentage of self-described Democrats who say they have 'no religion' has more than quadrupled since the early 1970s." America is largely divided between religious givers and secular nongivers, and the former are disproportionately conservative. One demonstration that religion is a strong determinant of charitable behavior is that the least charitable cohort is a relatively small one -- secular conservatives.
• Liberal 'charity'
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